The Meaning of a Life of Suffering and a Painful Death
The room he sat within was drab and grey, the straw mattress on which he lay blackened with years of caked grime. He looked around the room while contemplating the unhappy mess he had made of his life. His thoughts were intermittently interrupted, even drowned out by the pain in his right arm which ranged from a dull, heavy ache which — sometimes — he could ignore, to a screaming, white hot pain during which he could do nothing but roll around in the needles and filth in which he lay — until it passed.
His arm did not look good — a multicoloured tapestry of rot and decay saturated his flesh, a backdrop against the open sore in the crook of his arm which oozed thin blood and yellow pus, and surely smelled like death, although he himself could no longer smell it.
He would surely lose it, he thought to himself, with a desperate, deeply introspective grief he did not even have the energy to express, even to himself, let alone fight.
The biting, incessant pain in his arm was a mere shadow against the gnawing ache inside his own mind — the grim pain of merely being alive in such a dark and cruel world, with darkness and cruelty his constant companions, for as long as he could remember. He thought back briefly to one of his earliest memories, in a room not dissimilar to the one he found himself in now, where he had learned of the death of someone — perhaps a parent, or guardian of some kind — from the overheard shouts of anger through a thin wall. He wanted to venture out of the room into the hallway, but was too afraid… and then — suddenly a familiar dread descended upon him and he wrenched his thoughts away from where they threatened to go. A dark place he was all too familiar with, that now resided within him, and followed him everywhere.
The onset of this feeling was familiar, a sick anxiety and unease shook him from the still, almost calm, if deeply sad acceptance of his fate, and he began to hunt around the mattress desperately for something that he might have dropped, something to numb this unbearable assault of imaginary threats, and directionless fear. An incessant wave of invisible knives piercing through him, through time, from one or another cruel moment — encoded into his being below the surface of subconscious memory, but now breaching the surface…